On Good Friday, I found myself with a free afternoon. I decided to take advantage of the great Spring weather and make a spur-of-the-moment trip to activate the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (NS37). I hastily threw some equipment into my truck and headed out.
About 45 minutes later, I was on site and ready to get started. But first, I had to resolve some antenna issues. For some reason, my SWR was higher than normal and not very stable. I found a loose BNC connector on my 4:1 unun that I think was the culprit. I eventually managed to get things stabilized enough to operate. I was using my FT-817 at 5 watts into a 29.5-foot vertical wire antenna with two counterpoise wires. I operated all CW.
I couldn’t spot myself due to lack of a cell signal, so I just started calling, “CQ NPOTA.” After about 35 minutes with no takers, I was pretty close to packing up and heading home. Finally, I worked a Wisconsin station on 20 meters. I tuned down the band a bit and heard N4CD activating a park in Texas. I got him on the first call. So, at least, I was getting out to somewhere.
I moved down to 40 meters and worked stations in New York and Michigan. One of them must have spotted me because things picked up quickly after that. I spent the rest of my time on 40 meters and wound up with 30 contacts in the log (including 2 park-to-park QSOs) after an hour and forty-five minutes.
After I packed up, I stopped by the visitor center and chatted a bit with the park rangers. They were very welcoming and happy to have their park activated again. They were curious about how many contacts I made and how far I was able to get out. As I was leaving they thanked me for putting their park on the air.
I have some repair work to do on my antenna but it was a nice afternoon for an NPOTA activation.
72, Craig WB3GCK